Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Beer-Brined Turkey with Onion Gravy and Bacon (The OMG OGB Turkey)

I cannot possibly explain to you the epic deliciousness of this turkey.

It was genius.

It was miraculous.

It was life-changing.

It was bacon.

Turkey is scary for a few different reasons:

Number one, it is usually associated with forced awkward family gatherings that require a lot of wine to maintain sanity (for me, at least).

Number 2, turkey is a damn intimidating, huge fucking bird (Or reptile, if you're an animal nerd, like me).

And number 3, turkey has a huge tendency to come out dry and flavorless. Turkey is the bird from which holiday dinner nightmares come. 

Unfortunately, the first two issues are pretty impossible to resolve. BUT….I've acquired a handy trick for combatting the awful, nightmarish dry/flavorlessness of this typical holiday main dish.

Brining. Brining is the answer. And brining will change your life.

(And let's be honest. So will bacon.)

I give you….the Oh My God Onion Gravy Bacon Turkey.

(Adapted from Grace Parisi)


  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 8 bay leaves 
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 onions, cut into thick wedges
  • 1 pound slab bacon, skin removed and meat sliced 1/3 inch thick
  • Six 12-ounce bottles Guinness stout
  • One 12- to 14-pound turkey
  • 1 cup turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


The Brine:

  1. In a very large pot, combine the mustard seeds, peppercorns and bay leaves and toast over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. 
  2. Add the brown sugar and salt and remove from the heat. Add 4 cups of water and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved; let cool completely.
  3. Pour the brine into a lidded container large enough to hold the turkey and the brine, and small enough to fit in your fridge. We were able to use a small file storage bin and it worked perfectly.  
  4. Add the onions, bacon, Guinness and 16 cups of cold water to the pot.
  5. Add the turkey to the brine, breast side down, and top with a heavy lid to keep it submerged. 
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
The Baking: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and position a rack on the bottom shelf.
  2. Lift the turkey from the brine, pick off any peppercorns, mustard seeds and bay leaves and pat dry.
  3. Transfer the turkey to a large roasting pan, breast side up.
  4. Scatter the onion wedges in the pan and add 1 cup of water.
  5. Using toothpicks, secure the bacon slices over the breast.
  6. Roast the turkey for about 2 hours, turning the pan occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted deep into the turkey thighs registers 150°.
  7. Remove the bacon and return the turkey to the oven. Roast for about 1 hour longer, until the breast is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in a thigh registers 170°.
  8. Transfer the turkey to a carving board to rest.
  9. Pour the pan juices and onion wedges into a saucepan and boil until reduced to 3 cups, about 5 minutes.
  10. Add the turkey stock and return to a boil.
  11. In a small bowl, mash the butter to a paste with the flour.
  12. Whisk the paste into the gravy and boil until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.**
  13. Meanwhile, cut the bacon crosswise 1/2 inch thick.
  14. In a large skillet, fry the bacon over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes.
  15. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy and bacon.

**If gravy is too salty, add some half and half or heavy cream and reduce until you reach your desired consistency.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm these look delicious, thanks for posting up this recipe, looks quite simple to make.